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Inspiration Is for Amateurs

“Inspiration is for amateurs. I just get to work.”

~ Chuck Close

There is a common belief that in order to create amazing art, or to have amazing sex, we have to wait to be touched by the muse.

The muse comes along and seduces us.

She pulls up her skirt, sits in our lap and whispers in our ear.

Our desires surge and we are compelled to put pen to paper. And ravish her.

Sometimes it’s like this. You see a film and your creative floodgates open. You watch your partner on stage delivering a keynote speech and you want to tackle him.

At these times, yes, it’s best to surrender to the muse.

ginsberg quote

However, the idea that one can only create or make love when visited by the muse is erroneous.

The artist Chuck Close was interviewed by Terry Gross on NPR a few years back. Brian Oberkirch, at 43 Folders, a website on productivity, made this comment on the interview:

“And, sorry, all those romantic notions you have of absinthe spoons, manic episodes and Kerouac-like rambling on a long roll of butcher paper really aren’t operative. Creative work is mostly showing up every day and enduring a million tiny failures as you feel your way to something a bit new.”

To create a masterpiece, you commit to showing up everyday. In front of your computer, your canvas, your guitar.

You set up an environment in which the muse would feel welcome.

You do it a lot. If not daily, nearly every day.

The muse will come. And come.

She needs foreplay, though. Your preparations, your dedication, arouse her.

Then she delivers.

The same happens with sex. When I encourage clients to schedule sex dates, sometimes they balk: “I can’t force being in the mood!”

Oh, but you can.

Your daily efforts to maintain a sexual simmer, to keep communication lines clear and to practice surrender will keep your desire just below the surface. Or have it continually bubbling up.

All of your efforts in between bursts of genius and life-changing orgasms are foreplay. Or, in an archetypal sense, the “sacrifice” that needs to happen for divine truth to shine through.

The etymology of sacrifice is “sacre,” or sacred; and “facere,” to do or perform.

Sacrifice then, is sacred work.

The sacred work that allows truth to be revealed.

Because really, what is powerful art, if not truth?

What are life-transforming orgasms, if not expressions of our deepest selves coming to the surface?

Both are mechanisms which bring us back to our centres.

Put in the work: the showing up, the foreplay and you will reap the rewards.


Image: Conrad Roset, Musas

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